Wednesday, 03 April 2024 04:50

FIRS apologises for ‘Jesus paid your debts, not your taxes’ flier

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Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) has stated that it would never denigrate Jesus Christ as it apologized to Christians for posting on its social media platforms a flier bearing the headline, “Jesus paid your debts, not your taxes.”

A statement signed by Dare Adekanmbi, Special Adviser, Media to the FIRS chairman, Zacch Adedeji conveyed the Service’s “unreserved apologies for this misinterpretation.”

The FIRS spokesperson’s statement reads in full: “Our attention has been drawn to a statement by the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) about a flier posted on our social media platforms with the headline ‘Jesus paid your debts, not your taxes.’ As a responsible agency of government, we would like to say we did not put out the flier purposely to denigrate Jesus Christ or detract from the huge sacrifice He made for humanity. We are acutely aware that the essence of the Easter period is to celebrate this huge sacrifice.

“The message was our way of uniquely engaging taxpayers and to remind them of the need to prioritise payment of their taxes as a civic obligation. Yes, we would say the message ruffled feathers in some circles. The unintended meaning/insinuation being read into the post was not what we were out to communicate as an agency.

“Good a thing, this much is acknowledged by CAN in its statement wherein it said ‘We recognise that the intended message may have been to creatively engage taxpayers…’ We wish to offer our unreserved apologies for this misinterpretation.

“FIRS, as a responsible agency, has no religion and will not bring down any religion or offend the sensibilities of adherents of various faiths in the country. Our goal is to assess, collect and account for revenue for the wellbeing of the Federation. We believe it is an investment in the progress of the country when citizens pay their taxes. Once again, we wish to apologise to CAN and Christians who felt offended at the unintended consequence of our message on Easter Sunday,” Adekanmbi stated.

Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) had earlier on Tuesday in Abuja called on the FIRS to retract its Easter message and offer a public apology.

The National Director, National Issues and Social Welfare (CAN), Abimbola Ayuba, a retired commodore, in a statement, said the FIRS’ Easter message threatened Nigeria’s unity and undermined respect among diverse religious groups.

The FIRS message was “Jesus paid your debt, not your taxes”.

CAN, while reacting to it, described the message as “offensive and derogatory” to the Christian faith.

“The Easter message by FIRS does not only threaten Nigeria’s delicate unity but also undermines efforts of many Nigerians working towards fostering mutual respect among diverse religious groups.

“As a nation that prides itself on religious harmony and peaceful coexistence, we are deeply concerned by the recurrence of provocative messages around religious holidays.

“This year, a public institution, which should be the bastion of exemplary conduct, has been implicated in disseminating content that is widely regarded as offensive and derogatory to the Christian faith.

“Such messages not only threaten the delicate fabric of our national unity but also undermine the efforts of countless Nigerians working towards fostering mutual respect among diverse religious groups,” CAN stated.

 

PT

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